Changes challenge staff and students

Michelle Valencia
Staff Writer

With a new school year comes various changes; however, this new school year has brought more changes than ever before. With all of the uncertainties that Covid-19 has continued to bring us, the school district had to adapt to accommodate the statewide guidelines in order to have a safe school year. 

“We knew that what we were doing last year wasn’t meeting the needs of our students, we needed to figure out what we needed to do in that time to get us through,” principal Sarah Dorn said.

The new significant changes range from wearing a mask, contact tracing, a later start time and a new change of schedule.

Rules are in effect from the moment students walk into the building. Students must wear their mask properly at all times of the school day while also maintaining a reasonable distance from their peers to ensure their safety. If students are not complying with wearing a mask the proper way, they have to serve the consequences from teachers and administration. 

Sanitization stations are scattered along the entire school to promote the use of the antibacterial gel so students can eliminate the transmission of germs and bacteria. To maintain safety among students in the classrooms, contract tracing is being used to record where students are seated, in case there is a student that comes in contact with anyone that has tested positive. 

Along with changes that are necessary because of Covid-19, there have also been modifications that have been put to play due to the best interest of the students and school’s future. 

A later start time has been a topic of discussion for a long period of time for the school. The previous 7:45 a.m. start time was not an ideal scenario for students, parents and even staff. This year the administration and district came together and decided to change the arrival time to an hour later of 8:40 a.m. Both students and staff appear to be loving the new change.

“I really like the new change because I have the opportunity to sleep in, when I sleep more I am able to start off my day well and that makes me want to be at school and learn,” sophomore Cole Rotzien said.

The schedule has also dramatically changed from the prior seven daily classes and once weekly Advisory to a brand new concept to Sandy, a block schedule. Students this year have A and B days, where a student will have their classes divided in half and separated by days while having Advisory four times a week. Monday and Thursdays are A days while Tuesdays and Fridays are B days and Wednesdays students have all six classes periods and no Advisory. 

“Personally, I like the new block schedule, it allows students to finish more of their work in class and have more room to ask questions and get help from both their peers and teachers in class. Sandy High should definitely keep the block schedule for future years because I think the majority of students like it,” junior Julie Twist said. 

School lunch periods have also seen a significant amount of changes this year. During lunch, students are allowed to take off their mask while remaining seated and while eating but must put it back on whenever standing or when lunch is over. Due to Covid-19 safety protocol, all students must remain seated at the same seats they choose when lunch begins while also scanning QR codes to ensure the school can trace who was seated where at what time for safety purposes.  All students this year are also able to enjoy free lunches due to the USDA free lunch program. Lunch times have also been severely affected causing some students to have a different lunch everyday due to the new block schedule.

“It really sucks having to figure out which lunch you’re going to have on what day. Due to some students having A lunch one day and B lunch the other, our eating schedule is constantly changing which is not something that’s good for growing teens, it has also impacted my energy and hunger levels,” senior Paige Carey said. 

Bus transportation has also been impacted. This year high school students are having to share the buses with both elementary and middle school students. During morning pick-up routes, SHS students will be riding with elementary school students while in the afternoon the buses will be shared with the middle school students. This has been done because of the lack of school bus drivers across the nation which has greatly impacted the district’s routes for all students.

As of now, Sandy High is still going strong and has remained open for all its students and staff members for the 2021-2022 school year.

“I’m really proud of every single person here, our students and our staff members. Change is hard. Coming back full time is hard, especially when everyone was so excited to come back and have things be more normal. I’m just really proud that we’re still here and we’re going strong,” Dorn said. 

Although there have been many changes made for this school year, students and staff seem to be focusing on all the positives. Simply having the opportunity to be able back in the building has been a major upgrade to last year’s fully online learning. SHS students and staff are continuing to fight for normalcy even throughout a tough year filled with new challenges and changes.

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